Monday, November 21, 2011

Kayaking & Boating in Picton

One of the sunniest parts of New Zealand’s South Island, Picton is a charming port town at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, and with all that water, there couldn’t be a better location to enjoy some water-based activities on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in New Zealand.

Queen Charlotte Sound is the gateway to the vast Marlborough Sounds area, which means lots of opportunity for fishing and water sports, but especially boating. One of the main boat trips that most visitors on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday through New Zealand try is the inter-island ferry, travelling north and south between Picton and Wellington on the North Island. The route is not officially a ‘boating’ pastime, but the cruise through the Cook Straits has some stunning scenery, much better than many ‘proper’ cruises.

But back to some real boating opportunities. The sounds calm waters are perfect for kayaking, and if you’ve got the stamina, you can certainly enjoy some outstanding scenery on a 3 to 5 day trip though the Queen Charlotte Track. There are a variety of companies willing to rent out kayaks or canoes for solo adventures, or guided tours. The guided tours are an excellent way to go, as the waterways cover 1500km of coastline, so it’s easy to get lost. On a three-day trip, you pass by native bush with ancient tree ferns, vines, and enormous beech trees which flank the water. Watch as gannets dive for food, and dolphins swim alongside, accompanying you through the clear water, then camp for the night before a hearty breakfast and another day of yet more spectacular scenery. If you think that three days might just be too much, there are journeys lasting anything from a few hours to a day, but whichever trip you choose, guides will help you get the very best of your time on the water.

If a larger boat is what you’re interested in, Picton is also an excellent place for boat charters with, or without, a skipper. If you’re experienced you can skipper your very own launch or yacht, if you just want to sit back and enjoy the scenery, fishing, and wildlife, then take a charter with a crew; it’s not just the scenery on top of the water, there are some excellent diving opportunities as well, so remember your swimming and snorkelling gear. Boats can be chartered per day, or there are operators who also offer specialist tours where you can join others and enjoy some fishing, dolphin watching and swimming, or bird watching.

Whichever type of craft you choose, the waters of the Marlborough Sounds are the ideal spot to take to the water on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in New Zealand’s South Island.

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